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Rampant crime in Rio - absolute chaos!

Rampant crime in Rio - absolute chaos!

Old Aug 8, 17, 5:03 am
  #1  
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Unhappy Rampant crime in Rio - absolute chaos!

This is the road from the airport to Copacabana after another shoot-out.

Yesterday a British tourist was shot multiple times after her husband got lost and drove into a drug infested area, she was riding in the passenger seat with her three children in the back seat.

Crime has gotten so bad the army was called in to patrol the city streets. 91 cops murdered so far in Rio, another 90+ arrested, stray bullets makes victims almost every day.

I'm scared!
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Old Aug 8, 17, 6:25 am
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Believe me, this is a common day in Rio.
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Old Aug 8, 17, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by pmichelazzo View Post
Believe me, this is a common day in Rio.
Not really, pmiichelazzo; yes street shootouts have always been an occurance. But, there has been a serious shift in the degree of violent crime in Rio. The institutions are rotten, there is just no money to sustain the bloated salaries of the politically appointed top AND the civil servants that actually protect, teach , heal the sick, and it is the latter that are getting the short end of the stick.
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Old Aug 8, 17, 11:08 am
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That why I left Brazil years ago. I can't imagine to have a gun on my head again.
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Old Aug 9, 17, 5:06 am
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My wife's friend was the one who made the news about the pharmacy robbed in botafogo on Sunday (ish). She was kicked and pulled by her hair and had a gun pointed at her head and told several times by one of the gunmanen that he wanted to shoot her. Minors by the way. My response upon being told "well that's Brazil."...
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Old Sep 17, 17, 1:55 pm
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I avoid Linha Vermelha like the plague for this and other reasons. There are better ways to get from GIG to the south zone than using it, regardless of the time of day.

Linha Vermelha commonly has issues with arrestaos from time to time, because you've got no where to go when they stop the traffic, you cannot get off as it, is an elevated freeway with next to no off ramps, and it's the same with certain tunnels too. If you frequent Rio a lot, you would know this. Those who do not, won't obviously. It is, what it is.

FWIW......I've been to Rio about 42 times now, was there last for 2 weeks in May, have a condo there, and have never been robbed or felt unsafe once. YMMV of course, anywhere in the world. It is not "absolute chaos" on the streets however.

Last edited by KDS777; Sep 17, 17 at 2:45 pm
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Old Sep 18, 17, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by boboqui View Post
Yesterday a British tourist was shot multiple times after her husband got lost and drove into a drug infested area, she was riding in the passenger seat with her three children in the back seat.
Although I have sympathy for these people, that is not what happened. They deliberately drove into a favela they did not know. They were too clue-less to understand that they weren't at home. They were told to leave and did not comply. Likely they did not speak or understand any Portuguese. What resulted from their lack of preparedness was a harsh comeuppance, but as the old Jobim saying goes "Brazil is not for beginners."
------------
And my "mileage", as KDS777, after 20+ years of regular extended visits to Brazil, is no problems whatsoever, often traveling solo, as a woman who does not look Brazilian.
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Old Sep 24, 17, 5:45 pm
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Just to update the thread......landed at GIG today and just got back from one of my favorite restaurants here in Copacabana. Spent all day in the street walking around. There are no more police on the street than back in May, March, or December when I was here. It didn't feel any different either. Normal is how I would describe the ambiance.

I'm sure other areas may or may not be different, but since most visitors to the country only come here once, and read anecdotes online beforehand that were posted by other people who have only been here once.........you should do your due diligence first.

Other than the military going into Rocinha to quiiet things down after a major drug trafficker got popped last week, nothing has changed. And if you've been around here long enough you'll soon understand how the place works.
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Old Sep 26, 17, 12:37 pm
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So I've spent lots of time in South America, but very little time in Brazil, and I've never left the airport in Rio. I have a November trip to South America planned with my wife and daughter. We're going to be in Argentina and then up to Iguazu. I currently have a flight back to the USA from Rio, and need to decide whether we should spent some time in Brazil and whether we should visit Rio.

My wife, also a world traveler, is nervous about Rio. I can't really blame her -- there are lots of bad stories out there. We don't need "perfect safety" (like I don't think twice about visiting European cities that have regular terrorist attacks), but I also don't want to visit Rio if it's truly dangerous for tourists. For example, I know lots of people are shot in Chicago, but tourists who stick to downtown would never know this if they didn't read the media stories. We're obviously not going to have a good time if we have to be paranoid about safety.

So what's the real deal? Can we have a safe (short) enjoyable visit to Rio? Or should we skip it and spend our time elsewhere? If we do visit Rio, how should we arrange transport, where should we stay, and what should we do (and not do)? Thanks!
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Old Sep 26, 17, 3:39 pm
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I was terrified the first time I came here because I read the internet and newspapers. A lot of things get incorrectly reported, mainly because you not only have the city of RJ with 15MM inhabitants, but the city also exists in the state of RJ as well. So, what hits the media can inaccurately be reported as RJ, but without identifying the city or the state.

Secondly, and this is food for thought. Within a 5 block radius of my condo in Copacabana there has not been anyone killed as far back as I can remember, and I am a block from the metro. Yet, over 6-7 people have been murdered within blocks of where I used to live in downtown Calgary. Go figure........

Most reported crime that hits the media is normally in a favela and consists of rival drug gangs dealing with internal issues. I have seen stupid gringos get gold chains ripped off their necks in broad daylight while walking the beach by teenagers.........once or twice in 15 years.........but the majority of petty crimes usually happen in the north zone of the city as well, because it is poorer. Just exercise the usual common sense you would in a large metropolitan city, leave the Rolex and LV purses at home and you'll be fine.

My battery is dying so I'll answer the rest of your questions tonight when I can get to my laptop.

Hopefully Vidanapraia will chime in as well.

Last edited by KDS777; Sep 27, 17 at 2:00 pm
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Old Sep 26, 17, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
So I've spent lots of time in South America, but very little time in Brazil, and I've never left the airport in Rio. I have a November trip to South America planned with my wife and daughter. We're going to be in Argentina and then up to Iguazu. I currently have a flight back to the USA from Rio, and need to decide whether we should spent some time in Brazil and whether we should visit Rio.

My wife, also a world traveler, is nervous about Rio. I can't really blame her -- there are lots of bad stories out there. We don't need "perfect safety" (like I don't think twice about visiting European cities that have regular terrorist attacks), but I also don't want to visit Rio if it's truly dangerous for tourists. For example, I know lots of people are shot in Chicago, but tourists who stick to downtown would never know this if they didn't read the media stories. We're obviously not going to have a good time if we have to be paranoid about safety.

So what's the real deal? Can we have a safe (short) enjoyable visit to Rio? Or should we skip it and spend our time elsewhere? If we do visit Rio, how should we arrange transport, where should we stay, and what should we do (and not do)? Thanks!
I felt the same way you did. I had a conference this summer in Belo Horizonte, but felt that seeing Rio was a 'must.' We stayed on Copacabana Beach and everyone told us how dangerous the city was, to be very careful 24 hours a day. When we arrived, I was frankly scared to leave the hotel. But, looking out on to the beach, there were all kinds of people (old, young, kids, running, walking their dogs, laughing, having a good time) everywhere.

We had an AWESOME guide (found on TripAdvisor - PM if you want details). He spent the day and showed us the main sights, which helped us get our bearings and understand the city/ area. He explained that yes, crime does happen, but in the more touristy parts it is more pick pocketing, etc. He said that we should not make our selves any kind of target (wear flashy jewelry, etc.). After that, we felt MUCH more comfortable there. We rented bikes and joined the thousands of other city residents riding along Copa and Ipanema beaches, we walked around and shopped in both of them, spent time on the beach, had a drink at an outside bar, went to a real Brazilian Steakhouse. I was so glad we stopped and spent a few days there. So, I cannot recommend Rio enough, just be careful of your surroundings.
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Old Sep 26, 17, 6:19 pm
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To give you the most comfortable "feeling" and assuage any concerns as a first time visitor I would do recommend that you do the following:

1-When you exit customs in GIG you will walk thru the new and overpriced duty free store and then thru glass doors to the main terminal reception area. There will usually be a well dressed and attractive lady asking if you want a taxi. She works for Coopertramo, the large radio taxi company. Buy a prepaid ticket with her to your hotel in Copacabana. Ignore the other taxi shills as they will put you in a standard cab. They are not bad, and Uber is also here too, but on day 1 radio taxis are the best option for your first visit. The higher end hotels can also arrange a private driver to collect you at GIG. There are also staff there who are well marked that speak English and can assist you.

2- Copacabana has excellent hotels for all budgets. Ipanema is all 4-5 star and frankly overpriced in all aspects. A beach front view is most expensive obviously and a nice 3 star hotel that is 2 blocks off the beach can be had for 1/3 the price. If you want to go high end pick the new Marriott. Stay in the middle of the beach or in the area between Posto 4-6 towards Arpoador/Ipanema. All hotels have security.

3-Your hotel can arrange everything you need in terms of tours and personal assistance as they all have an English speaking person on staff.

In closing, it is a city of 15MM people, dirt poor and rich, with a large middle class. Like any other mega city in the world you simply don't do things here that you would not do somewhere else. Standard issue common sense.

My wife and I will no longer travel to Europe because of what it has become. She is a Brasilian and we live in Canada, but we are setting up to retire in Rio in the next 5-10 years. So, if we are going to live 6 mo of the year here, and 6 mo up there, personal safety is the least of our concerns in Brasil.

PM me about anything at anytime. I'd be more than happy to assist.

Last edited by KDS777; Sep 26, 17 at 6:45 pm
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Old Sep 26, 17, 6:42 pm
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Rio IS super dangerous. Literally all of my wife’s friends have been robbed. My wife had a piece of glass put to her neck (in the worst of 5 times she was robbed or attempted to be robbed). One friend was punched in the face/robbed while sitting in her car in broad daylight stopped in heavy traffic in downtown Rio because she left her window open. Another friend was involved with the pharmacy robbery in botafogo a few months ago, dragged by her hair and told she would die. I myself was trapped in a grocery store for an hour while a shootout happened across the street. I could go on....

But still, that’s for people who live there. Be smart and I highly doubt anything bad will happen to you just on a statistical basis. I always recommend people should visit Rio because IMO there is no better beach in the world than Ipanema.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 9:45 am
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Hey, Esmjb, can you please post as many anecdotes about people who have been in Rio with no incidents, just to balance out the horror stories you have chosen to present?

IMO, this choice to post only attention-getting horrific tales, and a brief mention of "statistics" (LOL), is what skews new tourists ideas of the city and makes them afraid to visit. (That then helps to tank the economy, making the desperate only more so. And round and round.)

Note: Some Brazilians post such horror stories in a concerted, but IMO misguided, effort to undermine the government.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 10:04 am
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Not a recent experience, but...

I spent a month in Rio/SP 15 years ago on my first trip to Brazil. While it's been 10 years since my last visit, I always enjoyed my trips, but did find a fair amount of petty crime in Rio.

You'll find pickpockets, scamming taxi's and other huge city nonsense lots of other places.

Even when going out late at night in Rio alone I never felt unsafe, but you've got to use common sense. Don't use ATM's in desolate/dangerous areas. Don't bring more money than you're willing to lose. And certainly if being robbed, just give your valuables up.

And number 1 Rio advice; don't wear nice shoes walking near the beach!
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